dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

Meet the Enjos.

The second group of second-tier characters that should have made more of a difference in the Declining Years are the Enjo family; as you may or may not know, when they moved into Connie's old house, Elly's biggest worry (which turned out to be unfounded) was that Mike would greet them with a racial slur. Sadly, this meant she was trying to hush him up when he was trying to say that Brian was his age. This, of course, was the first instance of their being used to deliver heavy-handed Aesops about race relations and the less admirable parts of Canadian history. They are, of course, more than that so it's time to summarize the family to see how they fit in in the greater scheme of things:

  • Keith: his primary influence on the strip was that he was the idiot who first got John really interested in model railroading. Other than an interest in gardening and a disdain for Pattersnarfing, he might otherwise just as well have been wallpaper.
  • Carol: A pleasant-enough replacement for Connie Poirier; as a nurse, she came in handy when April was born. Her star turn, however, was to worry about Brian's lack of interest in girls; the reason for that was that Lynn was trying to decide which ancillary ethnic character to declare gay. It should be noted that the two of them faded into the background about the same time that April nearly died.
  • Brian: He started out as pretty much a replacement for Lawrence and was sort of a mild version of the Asian Overachiever stereotype; most jokes about him involved the principal characters willingness to overlook taking his coursework seriously. His overachieving ways and seeming lack of interest in girls led his parents to believe that he might have been gay were disproved by his moving to Japan and marrying a Japanese national. His last substantive appearance was as sort of a tour guide when Mike wrote his expose about the fashion designer.
  • Dawn: Aside from being the irritating focus of Liz's either-or friendship when Candace and Shawna-Marie made their presences felt and assisting in the demonization of Therese and Settlepocalypse, she's the bland, intelligent, competent figure Liz only thinks she is. She's also the last member of her family to appear in the strip.

Just as the new-ruins could have used more strips with Thelma Baird, it seems to me that the Declining Years could have been livened up by a reminder that Elly has more than one friend and that John isn't the only model railroader in the district; of course, that would have required Lynn to care about her creation so we didn't stand a chance of seeing that happen.
Tags: the incidentals.

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